Ever since the NFC issue broke out sometime in November while we were performing the Haj, we have decided to refrain from commenting about it because we will be biasly negative.
Frankly, we have a poor impression of Dato Salleh Mohd Noor aka Salleh Budu as the people calling themselves Sahabat would refer him. We happen to have knowledge of some of his working and dealing at Taman Teknologi Malaysia.
He was known to abuse R&D fund. Some years back, we were involved to channel information from inside TTM to MOSTI to get his application for more R&D funds under MOSTI rejected.
While browsing on The Malaysian Insider (TMI)'s report on NFCorp here, we notice NFCorp chief executive Wan Shahinur Izmir making certain remarks that could implicate former Minister of Finance and Prime Minister, Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
Did TMI, a news portal linked to Dato Kalimullah "Masya Allah", which usually would defend and cover-up Tun Abdullah, Khairy and all from the liberal faction of UMNO, miss this?
Now we are talking.
The extract of Izmir's remarks from the TMI report are as below:
The son of senior Umno minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil said in a media statement today that the funds awarded to the company had been put into a special account and that NFCorp had been given a free hand to manage its business so long as it repaid the two per cent interest in full.The question arise here is why did the then Minister of Finance gave a soft loan of RM250 million with such an easy and flexible term as to allow the management to do whatever they wish to do with the money?
“The issue of NFC managing its loan monies amounting to RM250 million is the company’s responsibility to administer and utilise... NFC retains the prerogative to invest the funds in the best interests of the company,” Izmir said.
“It is not a grant or free money but a repayable loan,” he stressed.
He added, “The loan agreement does not stipulate any expressed prohibitions on investments.”
If it is meant for cattle farming, why did the Minister not put any such terms as not allowing certain investments?
Was the Minister awake then?
Returning to the extract:
The private firm that was entrusted by the government to manage the National Feedlot Centre (NFC) in Gemas, Negri Sembilan, has come under public scrutiny following PKR’s series of exposes that the family-run business had taken out millions from the government fund and parked it in high-end condominiums in Malaysia and Singapore.This was Khairy's argument when this issue first blow open. Why was Khairy so overzealous to defend Shahrizat and NFC then but now staying away and silent on the issue?
PKR revealed more documents yesterday, purportedly from Singapore’s Land Authority showing that Izmir’s father, NFCorp chairman Datuk Seri Mohamed Salleh Ismail, and brother, Wan Shahinur Izran Salleh who is the company executive director, had purchased two condominiums in the island republic’s posh Marina Bay Suites that cost over RM17 million each.
“The property market is sound and secure, more protected, and less volatile than others,” Izmir said today in defending the company’s decision to invest the money in the property market instead of placing it in money market instruments such as bonds from the government or blue-chip firms.
Izmir said that NFCorp had decided to put the money from the fund to better use during a break in its business operations caused by the government’s decision to suspend the construction of an abattoir to be rented to the company.
Frankly, we do not know from which Business School did Azmir went to or where he received his training, but one do not invest ones idle working capital into long term asset.
Secondly, if one need to invest in properties, it must be related to the business requirement.
Thirdly, one only invest in property investment, when the business is on-going, good cash flow, loans repaid and sufficient cash in hand to tide bad times. Even that, it is not prudent and smart management to invest company's money in condominiums.
This part must be blamed on management.
“With an export quality abattoir capable of 500 heads of cattle a day, the possibility of the beef production numbers would be achieved.It could but it did not. Why?
“The contract farmers under the Entrepreneur Development Programme and NFCorp targets would be able to see 246,000 heads of cattle bred by 2015 and deliver 44,000 metric tonnes of beef,” Izmir said.
He added, “We would be a highly successful venture.”
The TMI report explained the issue raised by the Auditor General's report.
The extract below:
In his report, Auditor-General Tan Sri Ambrin Buang had showed that the NFC set up in 2008 had failed to hit its target of breeding 8,000 cattle last year.It looks like the Government did not deliver their part of the deal in developing NFC. Why?
Under the 9th Malaysia Plan, the centre is expected to produce 60,000 cattle by 2015.
“An audit check found production in 2010 was only at 3,289 heads of cattle or 41.1 per cent,” the report said.
The audit report also found NFCorp did not finalise the standard operating procedure or implementation agreement in 2010.
It noted NFCorp claimed it could not do so because the government has yet to build an abattoir capable of slaughtering 350 heads of cattle a day.
The audit report said the Treasury completed a study on the slaughterhouse on April 5 last year to be presented to the prime minister.
The audit report noted two factories related to the project have yet to be built, namely the livestock feed factory that was part of the pilot project under the entrepreneur development programme, and a bio-gas factory to process the waste from the abattoir and the feedlot into fuel for the farm.
The report stressed infrastructure upkeep to be the most important factor for the project’s success and recommended the MoA devise a “Blue Ocean” strategy to boost its cattle breeding production to meet the original 60,000 target by 2015.
If it is money not disbursed, then it is Minister of Finance that has to answer for it for not allowing the project to proceed as scheduled and planned. We heard the two MoF representative on the BoD of NFCorp did not do their job.
On Dato Shahrizat, from what we understand, the project did not involve cabinet level decision.
Thus, there is no issue of conflict of interest on her part.
So does issues of criminal breach of trust or money laundering from abuse of power.
But there is still the issue of related parties getting contracts from Government. For that let's be real!
Can she stop her husband from pursuing this business? Men being men and their male ego, it is not that easy.
As someone in Tun Dol's network of Sahabat, Tun Dol should damn well know that Salleh Budu is Shahrizat's husband. As Prime Minister, he should know better than to give Salleh the money.
Tun Dol should have known that Salleh does not have neither the expertise, nor the experience to develop and manage such feedlot program.
What we know off is he hired someone and not pay the person to prepare the paper to import cattle from Australia and do fattening, which is basically what the operation is now.
He hired expensive foreign expertise from Australia to prepare the business plan and allowed foreign counterpart to manage his operations abroad.
The question now shift to why should Salleh be chosen over others? That we like to know.
Some friend of ours are already in the animal husbandary and doing the feedlot business. They have a lab in operation, Phds doing research, breeding grandparent stocks and exporting the breed abroad.
Salleh was given RM250 million soft loan but they can't secure even RM5 million loan. Is that fair?
Back to Shahrizat, she should not have problem with the authorities such as MACC, Police etc. If she wins the lawsuit against Rafizi and Zuraidah, it should cleanse her name.
But with her bad handling of the issue that dragged on for many months and in addition, the manner Shahrizat drag UMNO, Wanita UMNO and other leaders into her personal problem, she has made NFC into an issue UMNO have to defend. For her irresponsible behaviour, we are reluctant to support her on this issue.
She have made herself into a political liability to UMNO and we do not see where she can win any seats in the next general election.
Admit it that Rafizi had done his work well. Embarassed as it is, admit it that the Ketua Wanta UMNO was outwitted by a political newbie from PKR.
Shahrizat has some admitting to do too.
Now that NFC debacle is clearly a legacy issue of Tun Dol and voters have already taught the Government a lesson in 2008, why not give Najib a break?
It is not fair to load it on the person who has to solve the problem.
Najib certainly has lots of legacy issues from Tun Dol's days to solve. Constant blaming will not solve the problem. Just penalising people also will not solve the problems.
If it is Anwar, he would just talk and talk and talk. He is good at finding excuses, laying blame on others, wiggle his way out of mess, but sweep all the problems aside.
We know him well enough.